Through Microsoft YouthSpark, Microsoft Philippines is partnering with Filipino youth in honing their talents and skills to maximize their full potential. Today, Microsoft brought its Senior Director for Citizenship & Public Affairs Akhtar Badshah to the country to speak with some of the inspiring young citizens who endeavor to make a difference in the community.

Administering the company’s global community investment and employee programs, Badshah met five young leaders to discuss and explore possibilities on how the combination of their advocacy and Microsoft’s YouthSpark programme can further drive youth empowerment in the country. These young change makers who joined the roundtable dialogue included Marc Ruiz, Co-Founder and President of Microventures; Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Founder and President of Rags2Riches; Miguel Bermundo, Founder and Director of Dream Big Pilipinas FA; Noreen Bautista, Co-Founder, Ecolgenuity; and JQ Quesada, Manager, Ayala Youth Development Unit.  

Noting the young people’s current challenges and Microsoft’s role, Badshah said, “Young people today are faced with daunting challenges such as a lack of accessible education and decent jobs that hinder them in reaching their potential and changing their lives for the better. The opportunity divide between those who have resources to succeed and those who do not is expanding. To address these issues Microsoft, together with the community, is working to increase access to education, employment and entrepreneurship to help young people realize their full potential.”

Microsoft’s YouthSpark programme is part of the company’s sustainable efforts in bringing education, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for the youth worldwide. Under YouthSpark, several initiatives such as WOWZAPP and Imagine Cup were developed to equip young citizens in harnessing their creativity to better their lives.

WOWZAPP gives students the chance to access the best tools and resources they need to develop apps for the Windows Store and make money through it. Imagine Cup is an opportunity wherein the finalist gets the chance to fly and present his/her technological solution to St Petersburg, Russia, this year.

The young Filipino change makers underscored the valuable role of strategic partnerships in empowering the youth and communities.

"As young change makers of today, we believe that development is best achieved through partnerships between non-government organizations and the private sector. To work with Microsoft Philippines is one efficient way of helping pave the road for youth empowerment in the country. Youth leaders’ ideas for social progress can be
brought to life to turn lives around for the better,” said Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Founder and President of Rags2Riches.

Badshah also expounded on another YouthSpark programme called Innovate for Good, which is a series of events aimed at helping youth around the world take their innovative concepts and turn them into viable social ventures. Participants will receive training, mentoring and access to Microsoft technologies to guide them in developing their platform. Innovate for Good will be hosted by Microsoft Philippines in partnership with Gawad Kalinga 27-28 April in Manila.